To the Sea
By Cale Atkinson
Although none of the other children noticed Sam or offered to help him, Tim saw the whale and realized he needed assistance to get back to the sea. Thus a friendship was formed and Tim launched a plan to return his new buddy to his natural habitat.
Moving a large whale is not an easy chore but Tim figured out how to accomplish such a monstrous task and eventually Sam was back where he belonged.
This unusual story about friendship and helping out when someone is experiencing a time of need will not only delight young readers but will also teach them how friendship comes with a few responsibilities. The message is clear; “Friends don’t let friends down.” Both Sam and Tim illustrate how this works!
Let’s Look on the Seashore: A Spot & Learn, Stick & Play Book
By Andrea Pinnington
Illustrated by Caz Buckingham
Fine Feather Press. $7.99
This educational activity book offers a good introduction to the seashore and the plants and creatures you’ll find on an outing to the beach. Thirty stunning stickers can be used on a fold-out seashore scene to create your own marine environment.
Open the book and you’ll discover an introductory page that explains how to use the volume. Next is a page that presents seabirds, shellfish, seaside plants, fish, seashells and seaweed. This is followed by a section on “Amazing seashore facts” and a number of pages featuring an illustrated “spotter’s guide” that pictures everything from driftwood, mussels and a herring gull to limpets, shrimp and a curlew.
In the center of the book are two pages of stickers that may be used to construct your own seaside venue on the provided foldout. Since the stickers do pose a choking hazard for small children, make sure the sticker pages do not fall into the hands of a child who insists on placing things in his or her mouth. (The sticker pages can be easily removed and set aside until the child is older and can safely use them.)
Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach
By Alison Lester
Beach Lane. $17.99
While most of the animals frolicked on the shoreline and waded in the surf, Coco, who doesn’t like getting her fur wet, decided to take a snooze. While the cat was sleeping her mischievous friends decided to have some fun by building a moat around Coco and then letting it fill with seawater. Coco was not amused!
When Dave spied some whales off the coastline, he waded out to get a better view but ended up too far away from the shore and had to be rescued by the pony.
After a busy outing it was soon time to head for home but they’ll soon return again to enjoy a repeat of this special outing to the seashore.
This book’s cute illustrations and rhyming narrative provide an ideal reading experience for youngsters four years of age and older who are beginning to handle or at least share the reading chores at story time. You’ll find that “Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach” makes for a good transition from simple concept books to more demanding narratives with extended content and short chapters.
Sharks and Dolphins: A Compare and Contrast Book
By Kevin Kurtz
Featuring some top notch photos of sharks and dolphins, this guide will answer some rudimentary questions youngsters may have about these two marine creatures. Despite some similarities, there are obviously some major differences between a shark and a dolphin.
The book’s simple text not only points out these differences but also four activity pages allow the reader to apply some of the information he/she has learned while reading this book.
Since this isn’t intended to be a detailed study, I’d use this book to launch a discussion of the differences not only between sharks and dolphins but also other animals, plants and birds.
Teachers and home schooling families will find this inexpensive volume a good way to introduce a natural history or marine biology unit, or leave the book out and let the child discover it and satisfy his or her own curiosity.
The Stranded Whale
By Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Melanie Cataldo
Candlewick Press. $15.99
But with the tide receding and the enormous size of the stranded whale, it is a futile effort and the children must accept the fact that their well meaning actions are all in vain.
Although they receive medals from the Coast Guard for effort, the children, and Sally in particular, aren’t very proud of the recognition.
“So, the whale died and we were heroes. Yet somehow I was still mad. I put my medal in the drawer and never took it out again,” she explained.
Most books of this nature sugarcoat the situation and the story ends on a happy note with the animal set free or returned to its natural habitat. Living here on the shores of Monterey Bay, we know otherwise. In other words, there are not always happy outcomes when humans intervene to help animals in distress.
Jane Yolen does an excellent job in pointing this out in a manner that is both sensitive and realistic. This book will help the young reader accept this fact.